Twitter unveiled the Lead Generation Card today, a new expandable tweet format which allows users to show their interest in a particular discount or offer that’s being promoted by their favorite brand.

When a user expands the tweet, they’ll see a description of the offer, as well a small button underneath that will allow them to instantly send their basic contact information – name, Twitter handle and email address – to the brand or business in question.

All of the information is pre-filled within the Twitter Card based on the users’ existing account settings, thereby avoiding the often tedious process of filling out an online form. As soon as the button is clicked, the information is sent securely to the account that sent out the offer.

LeadGenCard 520 Twitter just added Lead Generation to Twitter Cards, this could be big

Twitter has been testing the feature already with a handfulof brands including New Relic, Full Sail and Priceline.

The idea is to give businesses more opportunities to discover new customers, and also reduce the amount of time spent between spotting an offer on Twitter and actually paying for the product or service online.

It’s also far more sophisticated than the act of simply following an account on Twitter, or ‘liking’ a brand’s page on Facebook. The Lead Generation Card gives businesses and marketers a simple and direct means of finding new customers and ultimately more business.

So how could this work in the real world? Well, an obvious use case is product pre-orders. Microsoft unveiled its latest video game console, Xbox One, at a dedicated event in Richmond, Washington yesterday. Using the Lead Generation Card, the company could have tweeted a picture of the hardware and then asked its followers to give them their contact details if they were interested in pre-ordering the system. Then, once the console is available to order, Microsoft would instantly have access to a pre-generated list of potential customers.

It’s not clear at this point whether Lead Generation Cards are restricted to just Promoted Tweets, or if businesses can apply the new format to all of their tweets containing a suitable offer. Regardless, the new feature will undoubtedly attract renewed interest from brands and businesses looking to engage with their customers and also generate new leads.

“Today, the Lead Generation Card will only be available to our managed clients; we have plans to launch this Card globally and to small and medium-sized businesses soon,” Mitali Pattnaik, Product Manager for Revenue at Twitter said.

Image Credit: KIMIHIRO HOSHINO/AFP/Getty Images